Three-time Indian Premier League (IPL) champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have the second lowest purse going into the IPL 2020 Auction on December 19 in Kolkata. The MS Dhoni-led Yellow Army have released only six players from their last season’s squad in keeping with its philosophy of backing the same set of players regardless of age with most of their players above the age of 35.

CSK released David Willey, Scott Kuggeleijn, Sam Billings, Dhruv Shorey, Mohit Sharma, and Chaitanya Bishnoi and have just five slots to fill with an available purse of Rs 14.60 crore.

One can expect CSK to have an easy auction and pick up some smart buys rather than flashy stars to shine at the Chepauk Stadium.

Here are five players CSK may aim to target at the auction:

Rahul Tripathi

CSK can do with some firepower at the top with the help of hard-hitting batsman Rahul Tripathi, who shot to fame in his debut season with Rising Pune Supergiants. Tripathi, 28, can open the innings and can provide much-needed acceleration in the middle order as well. Tripathi registered his career-best IPL score of 93 against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), but since then his form has tapered. He represented Rajasthan Royals for the next two seasons but was unable to capitalise on the opportunity scoring just one half-century in the 2018 and 2019 season. With CSK in need of a promising player that will fit their budget, Tripathi looks to be a good fit.

Sam Curran

Sam Curran had been in devastating form for Kings XI Punjab with both bat and ball. In nine matches he played in his debut season earlier in 2019, Curran bagged 10 wickets in nine games including a hat-trick. Meanwhile, Curran also amassed 95 runs at 172.72 a strike rate including one fifty. He can not only be used as a back-up allrounder, but also as a pace-bowling option.

Jaydev Unadkat

If there’s one area that CSK lack, then it is in their pace bowling department. They have players like Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur, who are oozing with confidence, specially the former, but they don’t have the depth in either the overseas or the Indian pace attack which is why a left-arm pacer in Jaydev Unadkat may be one of their top choices in the auction. The Saurashtra captain has been one of the most expensive buys, but his performances haven’t really justified his price tag which is why he was released by Royals. In the recent past, Unadkat has picked up 12 and 15 wickets in the Syed Mushtaq Ali and Vijay Hazare Trophy respectively and was the leader of Saurashtra’s attack. Thus, he is getting back into rhythm and may not be a bad option for CSK to target.

Tom Banton

Young England cricketer Tom Banton has made waves recently in the T20 Blast where he accumulated 549 runs at a strike-rate of 161.47 which was decorated with his attractive and aggressive stroke-play that impressed and made him stand out. With strong performances backing him, the 21-year-old also made his T20I debut recently and has also been included in the ODI squad for England’s tour of South Africa.

Shahrukh Khan

Shahrukh Khan has been another Indian, who has been impressive. He has been around the circuit, but is not beginning to get noticed specially in in the last two seasons of the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL). He may have not performed as well as he would’ve liked in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy this year but he was excellent in the 50-over format. In the Vijay Hazare tournament, Shahrukh made 244 runs at an average of 48.80. Moreover, he was striking at 125.77 and was Tamil Nadu’s crisis man of sorts.